Chandrayaan-3, India’s successful Lunar Mission

India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully launched, flew, and landed on the Moon’s southern pole. The lander has captured several images, collected science data, and even “hopped” by hovering 40 cm off the surface and moving to another location 30-40 cm away. On September 3, the lander entered sleep mode where it will remain until the end of September for further demonstrations. While the science objectives of this mission were limited in scope, the success has boosted India’s technological credibility and shored up their importance as influential space players. It’s expected that India will push more ambitious missions in future months and years as part of their commitment to the Artemis Accords that were signed in June of this year.

               The space cyber implications of a mission like this are the same as many others. Countries around the world pour large amounts of treasure into proving their capabilities and making sure that they are in the “room where it happens” so to speak. Many of the great powers, including India, go to great lengths to ensure that they are part of the conversations that decide what the future of space economy and infrastructure will look like. One of the most important ways to ensure that is by demonstrating technological capability. This also creates an opportunity for a potential adversary to interfere and block certain countries or organizations out of the arena using non-kinetic (read “low-risk”) means. For example, if an adversary of India were able to launch a successful cyber-attack against the Chandrayaan-3, it would not only cause financial harm, it could also raise questions about competence and leadership capability in the new battlefield of space.